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Rory McIlroy set to miss Irish Open as travel plans limited due to Covid-19


Rory McIlroy

Rory McIlroy has admitted he's unsure whether he'll play any events in Europe this year, even if the Irish Open is rescheduled for September, due to fears over the coronavirus pandemic.

The World No.2 has played in four events since golf's return following the lockdown caused by Covid-19, however all of them have been in the United States on the PGA Tour.

Rumours persist that the European Tour are eyeing up the week of September 24-27 - when the Ryder Cup was meant to be played before its cancellation - as a new date for the postponed Irish Open, with the likely venue being Old Head.

However, McIlroy, who was down to play at Mount Juliet had the tournament gone ahead in May, has admitted he's not committed to coming back across the Atlantic this year during the pandemic, even for his home tournament.

"I have no idea about the Irish Open... honestly, I don't know if I see myself going back to Europe this year. I don't know if I want to travel. I'm sort of taking it week by week," claimed McIlroy, who is in Memphis for this week's WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

Golfers on both sides of the pond have had decisions to make with regards to playing due to the coronavirus, with the likes of 15-time Major champion Tiger Woods and former World No.1 Adam Scott being understandably cautious with their schedules.

The White House recently announced a change to their policy, allowing golfers outside of the US to travel over for this week’s WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational or next week’s US PGA Championship without having to quarantine upon arrival.

Despite that, both Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell confirmed they would sit out next week’s first Major of the year as they did not want to risk travelling over to TPC Harding Park in San Francisco given the current circumstances.

McIlroy sympathised with the pair, however did concede he would not have done the same given the magnitude of the event had it been the other way round.

“If it was an Open Championship and I had the chance to go over and play, I would probably take the risk and go and play,” said the Holywood ace.

“That’s not to say what Lee and Eddie are doing isn’t right, that they feel safer and they feel that their time is better spent at home and not exposing themselves to more people and not having the chance of getting sick or getting someone else sick. I completely understand where they’re coming from.”

McIlroy, who plays his first two rounds at TPC Southwind with Webb Simpson and Jordan Spieth, tees off at 5.50pm UK time today, while Graeme McDowell, alongside Matthew Wolff and Jason Day, starts at 6.30pm.

At the Hero Open on the European Tour, Jonathan Caldwell (Clandeboye) tees off at 8am, with Cormac Sharvin (Ardglass) off at 10.50am at the Marriott Forest of Arden.

Belfast Telegraph